(Business in Cameroon) - The Cameroonian Ministry of Agriculture has adopted a strategy to boost local rice production in the next few years. The country wants to bring the local volume to 750,000 tons by 2030 and phase out imports.
"Not only do we want to produce more rice, but we also want to make it available to local consumers first. We want the local rice to be of high quality at an affordable price. And this strategy will require us to put in the necessary means, including making our agriculture more modern and mechanized, restructuring the sector, and involving the private sector more in the whole chain," Minister Gabriel Mbairobe said during a meeting held on May 16 in Yaoundé with stakeholders to validate the strategy. According to details provided following this work session, 60,000 ha will be developed for irrigated rice and 200,000 ha for rainfed rice with 6,000 tons of certified seed produced per year by 2030. Additionally, the government plans to provide rice producers across the country with power tillers, mini-harvesters, threshers, and hullers, among others.
Overall, the project is expected to swallow up to CFA385 billion, including CFA298 billion for irrigated areas and CFA87 billion for other goods and services. The funds will be raised from development partners, the private sector, and the public investment budget.
As a reminder, rice and frozen fish are the main food products imported into Cameroon. According to the National Institute of Statistics (INS), Cameroon imported 652,565 tons of rice for a total of CFA162.5 billion during the first 10 months of 2022, 4.6% of the country’s total imports over the period. With the new strategy, Cameroon's rice self-sufficiency is projected to reach 97%.